Who Knew Jury Duty Would Open My Eyes?

While everyone else was returning to their offices after the New Years break, I was reporting for duty to the Worcester court house for jury duty.

I was called last year at this time and postponed it a year since I was just starting out on the book tour for Content Rules and didn’t want to run the risk of being sat on a jury and having to cancel dates.

I’ve been called one other time in the past and got sat on a jury that go around, but at the last minute the trial was canceled. This time around I wasn’t so lucky and for the past two weeks have been serving on a civil case in Massachusettes Superior Court and the process has been eye opening on multiple levels.

I was fascinated by the whole process and I’m more than happy to do my civic duty and serve. I firmly believe that we should each make a point to proudly serve on juries and vote. Those are two cornerstones of our rights as Americans and we shouldn’t bitch about either one of them. Yes, it was an inconvience and I even had to cancel a trip because of it, but I was glad to do it.

The interesting side effect that I wasn’t ready for was because we had to keep our phones off while in session and commuting each day I wasn’t as engaged on all the different social channels as I usually am. Instead of having a constant flow of e-mail, I was only checking it three times a day. I’d watch the news in the morning to be updated on the world around me, but didn’t have the constant flow of information that I was use to.

And guess what?

I loved it.

I don’t like having lost the first two weeks of the year. I hated not working on my new book and missing some quality time with friends and potential business leads on my trip. But, it gave me time to clear my head and really take a good hard look at what I need and don’t need to be successful this year.

I’ve always been the guy to look for the silver lining and in this case I’ve certainly found it. My day-to-day habits are certainly going to change because of this.

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As for the case (since everyone keeps asking), it was a civil case of some greedy parents looking for money that they didn’t deserve. After three years of lawyer fees and two weeks of trial we ruled against the plaintiff because it was that clear of a case to us. I wish the judge had allowed us to flip the decision and rule against the plaintiff and assign damages to cover the defendant’s lawyers fees. I’m still not sure how this ever went to trial.

 

  • http://PodcastAnswerMan.com/ Cliff Ravenscraft

    Hey C.C., I started the year off with a weekend in the hospital.  Things are cool and I blogged about it at http://gspn.tv/hospital2012   

    It’s just amazing how much clarity we can have when we step outside of our busy lives. ;)

    Actually sounds like a great way to start the year!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • http://www.312digital.com Sean McGinnis

    We could all probably use  a little less “constant pull” in our lives.  Thank you for  serving so honorably, CC. Jury duty can be difficult, but I agree with you – it is a significant responsibility that we should not undertake lightly as citizens of this great country.

  • BenRobbins

    Great perspective

  • http://www.chrisvanpatten.com/ Chris Van Patten

    Thank you for serving on the jury and speaking about it as a duty, not just an inconvenience! I have never been called for jury duty but I imagine it’s far too easy to paint it as a pain-in-the-you-know-what, which you certainly don’t do.

    I too have had to spend the first two weeks of the year relatively disconnected while on a school trip abroad. I almost wonder if this might be the basis for a new yearly routine: an early-January disconnect, reflection, and self-evaluation in anticipation of the year ahead. Being removed from the constant status updates, emails, and phone calls really shifts your perspective and makes thinking deeply MUCH easier, which is quite useful at this time of year.

    All the best for the weeks and months ahead!

  • Molly

    I spent 2 1/2 weeks in China in October.  I couldn’t figure out the whole VPN thing(I’m technically challenged) so I let my phone die and mostly packed my computer around for the limited email and Skype which only occurred about once a day.  Internet was really limited there.  No Facebook or Twitter the entire 2 1/2 weeks.  Like you, I loved it. 

    While I’m back to old habits, I am using all that stuff much less than I did before and amazed at how much I like being less connected.

    Being a lawyer I could wax on for days(just in general) about trials, juries and the legal system.  I’ve never had the opportunity to be a juror until this week.  I was put on call for Federal Jury duty.   My number didn’t come up for this week and yesterday I got a letter saying that due to construction they wouldn’t need me next week.  “Thank you for your service.”  What service??  I didn’t even step inside the courthouse!  I am disappointed and hoping that I’ll get called again some time.

  • Jen Zingsheim

    After reading this and Amber Naslund’s post about taking back our attention, I’m willing to predict that, at least in social media circles, 2012 is going to be the year we all reclaim balance in our screen time.

    I’m ready.

  • http://www.hallme.com/blog/author/amanda/ amanda_pants

    Isn’t it fascinating what can make us realize what we need. Just because you can check email/twitter/facebook all day every day – doesn’t mean you should.

    I had to do Grand Jury a few years ago and THAT was awful. I had nightmares for months. Glad you had a decent case.

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